Guests: Gabrielle Giffords, Dave Weigel, Rick Steiner, Harry Shearer,
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you
be talking about tomorrow?
Top kill. The Coast Guard permits B.P. to try the plug the damn hole
method. Can it work? What if it doesn‘t? And why is this the first time
we‘ve heard those four words? “The Coast Guard permits.”
The insider reports continue. B.P. ignoring warning signs in the
hours before, but B.P. official in a, quote, “skirmish” with three rig
operator who tried to stop the process.
And the hearings continue. Congressman Rahall:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NICK RAHALL (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I do think it is important to
determine whether the Deepwater Horizon is a Wall Street of the ocean,
privatizing profit while the public bears the risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Howard Fineman on the politics, Rick Steiner on the
physics, Harry Shearer on the cries from the heart.
The immigration labyrinth: 61 percent support the Arizona “papers
please” law, which has cost the GOP nearly all Latino support. Troops to
the border requested by a Democratic congresswoman who herself opposes the
“papers please” law. Our guest: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Hypocrisy run amok. A reporter moves in near Sarah Palin, she
complains he‘s overlooking the family‘s swimming hole. This is the
swimming hole, Lake Lucille in Alaska, 350 acres‘ worth. Our guest: Dave
Landrieu-gate: James O‘Keefe pledged guilty.
And hypocrisy atop hypocrisy: Lonesome Rhodes recoils over the Palin
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: You leave the families alone. We‘ve never
done anything but protect the families and question why the White House
would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But in the same broadcast:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Did nobody hear that no one in the family heard Jeremiah
Wright? The kids never came home and said, “Hey, Jews are destroying the
world.” Michelle never said, “Wait, wait. What?”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
Mud is on the way—the somewhat less than inspirational announcement
this afternoon from a U.S. Navy official indicating that the equally
dubiously titled repair operation “top kill” is underway.
Our fifth story: the last best hope to end what is probably already
the worst environmental disaster of our time is reduced to mud. Not actual
mud, mind you, but the heavy drilling fluid known as mud, which itself is
still a little more than clay and water.
In a story seemingly filled with acme atomic oil absorption kits,
quoting Bugs Bunny about Wile E. Coyote seems entirely appropriate.
Remember, mud spelled backwards is dum.
Engineers are hoping to pump enough drilling mud into the gusher to
overcome the flow of crude. A B.P. spokesman is saying they will pump in
mud for hours and then follow up the mud with cement.
President Obama is joining the list of those making, quote, “no
guarantees” that the top kill procedure will work.
A live look at the Deepwater Horizon well showing that the procedure
does not appear to have worked so far but that apparently is as expected.
The chief executive of B.P., Tony Hayward, is warning this morning that it
would be days perhaps before we know whether top kill has actually worked -
- something that has never been attempted this deep, one mile under water -
Mr. Hayward having assessed its chances for success at only 60 percent to
Early tonight, the company announcing that the procedure was going as
planned. But remarkable new videotape showing anything but. From National
Geographic, giving us new looks tonight of the final moments on the
Deepwater Horizon oil platform and of the chaos that followed as it
actually toppled over and began to sink—the National Geographic Channel
to air its full special at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. tomorrow.
Witness statements obtained by the “Associated Press” depicting the
chaos that seems to have led to the explosion, senior managers having
complained that B.P. was, quote, “taking shortcuts” the day of the
explosion by replacing heavy drilling fluid with sea water in the well that
later blew out—sea water providing less weight to contain a surging
pressure problem in the hours before the explosion.
And today in Louisiana, a chief mechanic aboard the Deepwater Horizon
who survived the explosion is testifying that he witnessed a disagreement
about the well between a B.P. official and two other employees on the day
of the explosion—with the employees rather ultimately deferring to,
quote, “the company man.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUGLASS BROWN, TRANSOCEAN CHIEF MECHANIC: I remember there was a
slight argument that took place and a difference of opinions, and the
company man was basically saying, well, this is how it‘s going to be. And
they—and the tool-pusher and the OIM reluctantly agreed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Other testimony prepared for today‘s hearings in
Washington revealing that the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the MMS,
last inspected Deepwater Horizon‘s so-called blowout preventer in 2005.
Five years later, in 2010, the blowout preventer, as we know, having failed
to prevent the blowout.
Interior Secretary Salazar is insisting to lawmakers that the Obama
administration is doing everything possible.
But members of the president‘s own party today are voicing their
frustration with the response thus far. Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire
is calling for the MMS to be abolished outright. Senator Bill Nelson of
Florida is saying today that if top kill does not work, the administration
should take over from B.P.
Louisiana native, James Carville, meanwhile, is slamming the president
for the, quote, “political stupidity,” unquote, of his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The president of the United
States could have come down here. He could have been involved with the
families of these 11 people. He could have commandeered the things—we
could have sent the Woods Hole people. We could have sent the Scripps
people on research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. He could have
implemented a plan in anticipation of this.
These people are crying. They‘re begging for something down here and
he just looks like he‘s not involved in this. Man, you‘ve got to get down
here and take control of this. Put somebody in charge of this thing and
get this thing moving. We‘re about to die down here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: President Obama planning to travel to the Gulf on Friday.
Today, on the road in California, notably not saying that he is against the
kind of deep water drilling that led to the disaster, merely that the
nation will not be able to sustain its current level of fossil fuel use.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the spill in the
Gulf which is just heartbreaking, only underscores the necessity of seeking
alternative fuel sources. We‘re not going to transition out of oil next
year or 10 years from now, but think about it. We‘re not going to be able
to sustain this kind of fossil fuel use. This planet can‘t sustain it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: At this hour, there‘s a news conference at Roberts,
Louisiana, at which a coast guard rear admiral and the COO of B.P. have
been speaking. Doug Suttles, the COO, says of top kill merely that the job
is going according to plan. The rest of the news conference is about what
you would have expected at this point.
We‘re joined now by our own Howard Fineman, senior Washington
correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine.
Howard, good evening.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: What are the political implications for the
administration, for the president, if this top kill thing that we‘re being
told about does not work?
FINEMAN: Well, the president‘s trying to execute his own political
version of the top kill here, Keith. There‘s a whole series of things
going on, the presser that you just mentioned, Coast Guard Admiral Thad
Allen was made available to some of us today for a detailed briefing over
at the White House. Salazar, the interior secretary, is going to come out
with a statement about offshore drilling and its future in the next day or
so, I think he‘s going to dial back on some of what the administration was
enthusiastically talking about in terms of offshore drilling, you know, a
couple months ago.
There‘s going to be a new government estimate of the amount of oil
that‘s actually out there, separate from any estimates of B.P. that federal
officials have been working on. Then the president is going to have a
press conference about this. He‘s going to have a press conference, a full
one, in 10 months. He‘s having one tomorrow.
And then, per James Carville, he‘s going down to the Gulf on Friday.
So this is their version of a kind of a political top kill to try to
stop the flow of political criticism that‘s really getting heavy now.
OLBERMANN: Yes. You left out one thing—the podium has a logo now.
There‘s a logo that says Deepwater Horizon response. So, it‘s official.
There is a response.
FINEMAN: There you go. A logo. Yes.
OLBERMANN: The president said that top kill, there are no guarantees.
I hear that and I‘m having my expectations lowered before my eyes. Is that
a fair assessment?
FINEMAN: Yes. Especially based on what Admiral Allen said to us
earlier today over at the White House.
First of all, as you indicated, there is a chance that putting this
mud down there, if they do it too quickly and heavily, it will bust apart
the well itself—what‘s left of the well, and create other fishers that
might allow more oil to come through. So, that‘s why they‘re being very
careful and slow in monitoring this carefully, because there is that risk
of making it worse and making the flow heavier. That‘s number one.
Number two, when the platform collapsed, it ruined the system of pipes
that would have allowed for the mud to be easily put down there. This
apparently was not a scenario that they considered. The more you learn
about this, Keith, the more you learn that the failsafe mechanisms and
scenarios that should have been carefully examined by somebody simply were
OLBERMANN: Those tech points you just raised we‘re going to go to in
depth with our next guest, Rick Steiner, in a moment. But to continue with
you, Howard, Friday soon enough? I mean, Friday in the Gulf Region given
to the political sensitivities related to what‘s happened to the Gulf
Region in the last five years?
FINEMAN: Well, no, obviously not. I mean, if you‘ve got James
Carville on the TV, there‘s no more loyal Democrat than James Carville. No
more partisan Democrat than James Carville. Yes, he‘s from Louisiana.
Yes, it‘s his home. But you‘ve also got Jeanne Shaheen, you got Nick
Rahall, you‘ve got Ed Markey from Massachusetts. You got a lot of people
saying there should have been more by way of study and response.
And, again, Admiral Allen said that some technical advice from the DOD
and from other places has been helpful. I don‘t know they‘ve scoured or
thought outside the box about other parts of the federal knowledge base
that could have been brought to bear on this. While it‘s true that B.P.
has the most knowledge, as much as any oil company does of this new exotic
deep drilling, there could have been I think other things brought to bear.
And emotionally, the president has a duty to be there, to be on scene
with these people, Keith. It sounds a little too technocratic and bland to
talk about reducing oil demand at a time when a whole way of life is under
threat, and a whole ecology is under threat in Louisiana and elsewhere on
OLBERMANN: Well stated. Howard Fineman of MSNBC and “Newsweek”—as
always, great thanks, Howard.
FINEMAN: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: For more, as we said, on the science, let‘s turn again to
conservation consultant, Rick Steiner, a marine biologist who‘s been total
Gulf Coast and has studied this spill and other events elsewhere regarding
oil spills and disasters.
Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.
RICK STEINER, MARINE BIOLOGIST: My pleasure, Keith. Hi.
OLBERMANN: The chief executive and president of the United States
both warning there‘s a good chance the top kill‘s not going to work. What
makes it risky, dangerous and what is that possibility? Why is there a
possibility it‘s not going to work?
STEINER: Yes, I‘m not sure if I was a gambling guy that I‘d put my
money on it. But at this point, we‘re open to Hail Marys on this thing.
There is always a risk. There‘s an enormous amount of pleasure coming
up the blowout from the reservoir. And if you try to back that pressure
down the failed well string, which is what the top kill is trying to do,
you could change the entire hydraulic situation underneath the sea bed and
cause more damage down there, and the oil could start percolating up
elsewhere to where it would be far more difficult to control.
But these things, you know, trying to snub it off at the wellhead have
to be tried. It could—you know, at this point, it‘s difficult to
imagine that it could cause more damage, but it is possible. But we have
to try something.
OLBERMANN: And the worst case scenario—or not the worst case
scenario, sort of mid-range scenario, it doesn‘t cause those other fissures
and doesn‘t cause additional leaks anywhere else, and it doesn‘t cause to
percolate up the sea bed or the floor of the Gulf anyway. The mid-term
worst-case scenario is—it just keeps spouting oil indefinitely or is
there a point at which this well dries out? What happens?
STEINER: Well, there‘s probably several hundred million barrels of
oil in that reservoir, at least, perhaps more. So, if this remains
uncontrolled, it could conceivably go on for years.
But the best hope we have is to get the two relief wells down there
ASAP and then they can do either the dynamic kill from down where the
failed well string meets the reservoir, which is injecting sea water, and
then with frictional forces, slows down the blowout. Then they inject the
heavy mud, which is especially formulated for this. And also—and then
they inject the concrete.
The other thing they can do is inject this guar gum and especially
formulated kill fluids down into the top of the reservoir, sort of like
sticking chewing gum in the top of a fissure like this. But that—the
relief wells are ever important right now, they need to get down there
ASAP. And I‘m curious as to whether or not they should start drilling a
third relief well in case the first two fail for some reason.
OLBERMANN: Briefly, what is ASAP on these relief wells?
STEINER: Well, within the next two weeks.
STEINER: They are—the first relief well is more than halfway to
the reservoir. They basically come down about 10,000 feet through the sea
bed and then start angling in, using electromagnetic sensors and such to
intersect the failed well string right at the top of the reservoir.
So, I would—you know, we‘d like them down there yesterday, which is
why it‘s intriguing that the Canadian government requires the drilling of a
relief well along with—
STEINER: -- the exploratory well in the extreme environments. I
wonder if we should even be drilling in places like the deep ocean and the
Arctic Ocean if we can‘t do better than we‘re doing right now.
OLBERMANN: Yes, you can‘t see the screen necessarily, but the answer
to that is to the left of the screen the viewer sees at home.
One sort of political question that touches on science and also
touches—every night, the humorous David Letterman touches on this. He
talks about another solution that involves Superman doing something.
As ludicrous as that sounds, what—is there in fact something in the
government quiver that has not been brought to bear, if there had been some
immediate decision by the administration, “B.P., you‘re out of this, we‘re
going to take over”? Is there some solution, some offshore geologist, some
marine biologist who knows what the hell to do in this situation that B.P.
STEINER: Well, I think it‘s the engineers and the fluid dynamic
physicists and such. But unfortunately, we‘re right at the edge of the
science and technology here. And, of course, if the top kill doesn‘t work,
which there‘s a good chance that it won‘t—but we‘ll see, hoping that it
does—then they‘ll try the junk shot which would preclude additional top
kill mud injection, and then they‘d try another blowout preventer on top of
the one that‘s there, then they‘d try the dome.
But all these are sort of stop gap, Band-Aid approaches. They need to
try them, but absolutely most thing is they need to expedite getting those
relief wells down there to the top of the reservoir to intersect with the
failed well string.
OLBERMANN: Rick Steiner, conservation consultant, marine biologist,
and once again making this somewhat intelligible for us. Once again for
that, great thanks.
OLBERMANN: The unexpected kernel of truth in the phrase “Obama‘s
Katrina” explained today online by Harry Shearer. Harry joins us next as
our coverage of day 36 continues.
OLBERMANN: He argues that the reference to Obama‘s Katrina is not as
knee-jerk as it sounds, that much of the president‘s political risk right
now owes to what he is yet to do to prevent a second Katrina.
Her role in the most intricate story of our time, she opposes her own
state‘s “papers please” law, but it was her request that will send National
Guardsmen to the border. She joins us.
He pleads guilty, apologizes, is sentenced. Anybody putting money on
him learning a lesson here?
And the crowd that bashes the president‘s wife, his kids, his aunt, is
enraged because a writer moved into the same neighborhood she leaves in.
We leave families out of it. Hypocrisy squared.
You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: In the news conference in Louisiana, Rear Admiral Mary
Landry saying they are very encouraged but do not want to express optimism.
When the right-wing began calling the Gulf oil spill President Obama‘s
Katrina, we reported on this news hour the extensive role Bush/Cheney
policies and decisions had been allowing the spill to occur and how
Cheney‘s old company, Halliburton, was literally at ground zero of the
But tonight, in our fourth story, while we have reported almost
nightly on the current administration‘s failings in the Gulf and as we
mentioned before, the break—the Democrats are at the breaking point it
seems, there is a new argument being advanced by our next guest, Harry
Shearer. That part of the reason for the anger with Mr. Obama‘s response
is his poor record on—yes, the actual Katrina. Specifically the
president‘s actions or lack thereof in protecting New Orleans from future
Katrinas, the Army Corps of engineers having still not come up with a plan
for a permanent hurricane protection system.
Mr. Shearer arguing in online post today that a full-on push by Mr.
Obama there might have inoculated him against charges that his
administration has let the oil slipped through its fingers by letting B.P.
run the show. While Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal pleading for the Army
Corps to approve construction of a make shift barrier islands, as
impractical as that might be, leads a growing chorus of politicians,
residents, fishermen and others crying for the federal government to do
more, better, faster than B.P. has so far.
As promised, we‘re now joined by investigative satirist, Harry
Shearer, New Orleans resident, actor, author, musician, radio host, and
filmmaker behind the upcoming documentary, “The Big Uneasy,” the post-
Katrina New Orleans story.
Good evening, sir.
HARRY SHEARER, SATIRIST: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right. Your thoughts on the response—what exactly
could have or should have the president done?
SHEARER: Well, I say it‘s two things. It‘s the Woody Allen rule,
nine tenths of life is showing up. So show up early and often, you‘re
trying to project the image of un-Bush, who was famous for not showing up.
So, be there.
Be there to express your support, your interest. Be there to start
the fact-finding process a little bit earlier than five weeks after the
Which ties into the second thing, the CSI rule, show up while the
evidence is fresh. Don‘t be the fireman who waits around, let‘s the
arsonist put out the fire, and then arrives five weeks later and says,
“Hey, what happened here?”
OLBERMANN: To be fair, did you think in the days after this happened
that he should have been there? Because I can‘t say, in all honesty, that
I thought in the three days after the event that, “Where‘s the president?”
SHEARER: You know, the worst that could have happened was that he
would have looked perhaps a bit silly in anticipating disaster where none
was immediately apparent. But to go down there and say, this has the seeds
of a disaster, it doesn‘t yet have the earmarks of a disaster, but we‘re
going to be here proactively, precisely because the last time disaster
struck New Orleans the federal government was late at every turn—as was
the same government for that matter.
OLBERMANN: All right. And to Katrina, explain that. I gave that in
sort of a bulletin form. Explain how the president—this president has
disappointed you on the last president‘s Katrina.
SHEARER: Yes. Well, me, meaning people in New Orleans.
You know, there are two salient points here. One, starting last
March, people in New Orleans became aware that the Corps of Engineers have
publicly announced they were choosing—in their words—technically not
superior solution to rebuilding the canals that breached so disastrously on
August 29th, 2005. The president could have stepped in, and said, you
know, technically not superior is not really the kind of reassurance that
New Orleans deserves in the wake of a manmade disaster like Katrina. As it
was in New Orleans.
And secondly, there‘s been a letter on his desk since June of last
year from the Office of Special Counsel which validates whistleblower
complaints, saying a whistleblower inside the Corps of Engineers has made a
valid, proven complaint that the temporary pumps on these canals will not
work in the time of a hurricane. And there‘s been no action from the White
In both situations, action from the White House—steadfast,
forthright action on these issues would have sent a message: this guy cares
about New Orleans.
OLBERMANN: So, in the light of the fact that forecasters today
predicted, the quote was, “a hell of a year for hurricane season this
summer,” is there a way from your assessment—and you‘re not in New
Orleans at the moment, but from the big picture of the community—is
there a way to salvage this? And I hate to reduce these things to
political terms, but is there a way for the president to salvage both of
things simultaneously in some way right now?
SHEARER: Well, the issue of—those issues that I mentioned are
still on the table. They‘re still—you know, the Corps of Engineer
process is a bureaucratic one. You can still intervene and make the
statement to New Orleans that we‘re going to do it right this time. We‘re
not—you know, we‘re not just going to put up big things and say look at
the big thing we put up. We got to do good science, good engineering, have
it viewed by peer review experts independent of the corps. We‘re going to
do this the right way.
As to the oil spill, you know, I feel badly for somebody who has to
depend on B.P. to fix this thing. Maybe when the top kill doesn‘t work
they can try the fedora.
OLBERMANN: Harry Shearer, actor, musician, radio show host and
resident of New Orleans—as always, Harry, great thanks. Good luck.
SHEARER: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The other body of water in the news, what Sarah Palin has
described as her family‘s swimming hole now invaded by, defiled by a
reporter verily, a reporter. Turns out the swimming hole, she means the
350-acre lake with the public beach also.
OLBERMANN: As MSNBC covers immigration all day, polling suggesting
the new Arizona law has cost the Republican Party virtually all support
First, the tweet of the day and this pertains to the joke I made
yesterday about the tea party‘s North Carolina congressional candidate, Tim
D‘Annunzio, who claimed he had found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona and
how I hoped all the animals had their papers.
From Dr. Mathochist, “The Ark of the Covenant and Noah‘s Ark are not
the same thing. No animals in the first one.” Got you. Thanks, my
Of course, you do realize we are talking about something that wasn‘t
on, something that never existed, something that the guy didn‘t find.
Let‘s play “Oddball.”
OLBERMANN: We begin at the new outdoor Target Field in Minneapolis
where before last night‘s game between the Yankees and Twins was suspended
due to rain, it was held up due to a squirrel—a squirrel that hates
third basemen. Outside baseball, everybody.
The squirrel spent the better half of the inning loitering around the
ballpark, hugging the outfield wall to stay away from the rain. Little
Rocky eventually made his way out of Target Field and then high-tailed it
away from the stadium to kick-ass jet boat. Aloha, Rocky!
To Greece where the country‘s troubles have taken another turn for the
worse. Their highways are now infested with frogs. No, it‘s not a plague.
No, the Greek government doesn‘t owe money to the nation of—never mind.
Reminds me of the popular 1980‘s video arcade game “Burger Time.”
Officials say the amphibians left an area lake in search of food. The
highway was shut down after several cars skidded off the road to avoid the
little guys. All the frogs were able to dodge the cars, leap on to logs,
on to a turtle‘s back and eat a fly after safely getting across the road.
Finally to Okinawa, Japan, roaring through traffic dodging vehicles
left and right and down the alley he goes. This little piggy was
apparently somebody‘s pet. He was eventually cornered in a pile of boxes
and rushed back to his deli counter—excuse me, to his owner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The immigration labyrinth, new polling tonight showing
what the Arizona papers please law has cost this country. Gabrielle
Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman whose request will bring troops to the
border, but who opposes the law joins us next.
OLBERMANN: Before our third story, to clarify something that may have
been implied either by my guest, Harry Shear or myself, if we left you with
the impression that we thought President Obama had not been in New Orleans
yet since the time of the disaster, the time the disaster began in the
gulf, we should apologize for leaving that impression.
Of course, the president was there 24 days ago for a visit and to
inspect the area and to express his solidarity with the city and the
community. Harry Shear‘s point, I believe was that he hasn‘t been there
enough or done there enough since.
In any event, to our third story, pressure reminders today just how
polarizing immigration has become, after the president announced he would
send 1,200 national guard troops to the Mexican-American border. Two
Republicans quickly called for five times that amount.
This, while a new poll shows the Arizona papers please law has cost
the GOP virtually all Latino support. The congresswoman whose request
would bring the troops, but still opposes the law joins me in a moment.
But first, today GOP Senators Isakson and Chambliss announced they
would co-sponsored measure to fund 6,000 national guard troops to help law
enforcement at the Mexican-American border. This, just a day after the
president announced 1,200 troops for the same purpose.
Meantime, the new Arizona immigration law still generating great
consternation from law enforcement at all levels. The attorney general
today met with police chiefs for major cities nationwide and they say the
Arizona law and similar proposals in other states will burden the law
enforcements, strain resources and damage police relations with local
The Justice Department has now written a recommendation challenging
the Arizona immigration law, following the view of many legal experts that
parts of the law exceed the state‘s legal authority.
And the political ramifications of this just now becoming clear from
the new NBC News survey, 61 percent of the public generally support the
Arizona law, 40 percent of respondents say they would favor a generic
Republican candidate who supports the law over a Democratic generic
candidate who opposes it.
However, among Latinos, 68 percent approve of President Obama versus
48 percent job approval among all respondents, and 55 percent of Latinos
hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party compared to 41 percent of the
general public holding that view.
More evidence that Latinos are no longer swing voters, but rather
moving heavily in favor of the Democratic Party. Latinos believing,
according to surveys, that Democrats would do a better job than the
Republicans protecting the interest of minorities, 58 percent to 11
Latinos still have the highest percentage of potential voters who have
yet to register and therefore represent a potential source of additional
Let‘s bring in as promised Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of the
Arizona 8th, also a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs
Committees. Congresswoman, thanks for your time tonight.
REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), ARIZONA: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: First, if you would, clarify your position on this balance
between sending national guardsmen to the border and this new Arizona state
immigration law, 1070.
GIFFORDS: Yes, well, I‘m a federal legislator and I firmly believe
representing the most porous part of the U.S.-Mexico border, Southern
Arizona, but specifically Cochise County is the area where Rob Krentz, the
rancher whose family has had this land for over 100 years was tragically
murdered on March 27th.
I know that my responsibility is to secure the border and this problem
has been going on for a long time. Certainly the previous administration
had made some attempts to secure the Southern Arizona border, but even
today, we have anywhere between 700 to 1,100 apprehensions of illegal
immigrants every single day in the Tucson sector.
So the Boarder Security pardon, as you mentioned, I served on the
House Armed Services Committee, national security should be border
security. The state legislators, I believe, some of the frustration of the
Arizona people for not having secure borders and having tremendous amount,
particularly of drug cartel violence that is now starting to come up north.
Passed SP 1070, had I been—had I been a state legislator, I
wouldn‘t have supported the bill. But the reason really why is because it
does nothing to secure the border. It does nothing for border security and
that‘s where we need to focus our attention right now.
OLBERMANN: Congresswoman, is there any indication that Mr. Krentz‘s
murder was not from this country or was here illegally in some way or that
these troops at the border would have stopped that from happening?
GIFFORDS: Yes, it‘s—the investigation is ongoing right now. But
the assailant was tracked immediately after when they found Mr. Krentz‘s
body, they actually tracked him, I assume it‘s a him, back to Mexico.
And the trackers are some of the best trackers in the country, and
they—I.C.E. believes they have an idea on someone, but, you know, this
investigation is ongoing. So we won‘t know of course until the
investigation‘s complete and until someone is brought into custody and is,
you know, made to stand for his actions.
But, you know, this was a problem that was waiting to happen,
unfortunately. Because, again, and think about this, the Tucson Sector,
240,000 apprehensions last year, just the Tucson Sector.
And then that - when you compare it to where we were a couple of years
ago, it‘s decreased almost by half, in 2005 we had over 500,000
apprehensions. But what‘s happening now with the drugs is actually that‘s
So last year we set a record 1.2 million pounds of marijuana seized in
the Tucson Sector. Department of Homeland Security‘s done a good job in
other areas, particularly the urban areas. But out in the rural parts of
Southern Arizona we have a major problem.
OLBERMANN: I‘m confused by one thing here, if President Bush sent
6,000 troops to the border and the problem seemingly worsened to the point
where the state of Arizona would consider a bill as it did in 1070, how
will 1,200 troops to the border have any impact now, or how would even
6,000 more troops have any impact now?
GIFFORDS: Well, the number deployed in the past was actually deployed
across the entire southwest border region, not specifically in Arizona.
Also it‘s important not to confuse operation jump start, which was the last
deployment where President Bush had moved to the guard on to the border to
wait for the training and the preparation of the hiring of additional
border patrol agents to be deployed to the area.
So they‘re very different. The mission is different. The situation
on the ground is different. Frankly, we are being outmanned, we‘re being
outgunned, and we‘re being out resourced by the drug cartels right now.
It‘s a serious problem and it‘s beginning to creep northward.
OLBERMANN: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Democrat of Arizona.
Our great thanks for some of your time tonight.
GIFFORDS: Thank you. Appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: To hear her describe it, a reporter has moved in next door
and staring through her windows at her kids in their underwear. Geography
and Dave Weigel explains it a little differently.
And rushing to her defense, the defense of keeping families out of
politics, this carnival barker who just today attacked the president‘s
family, again. And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, she
choppers on to the “USS Iwo Jima” to find out how they coordinate the
You know, like when President Bush had his flight suit mission
accomplished photo op. It‘s a big night in “Geek Week” for sky pilot
OLBERMANN: Guess which anti-stimulus governor just balanced the
budget with stimulus money. First, no that‘s not your water coming to a
boil, it‘s our nightly check up on something for nothing crowd, it‘s tea
Take full responsibility for our decision to visit Senator Landrieu‘s
office. I believe (inaudible) should have used other means and with that,
James O‘Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of
community service and a fine of $1500. His co-conspirators got similar but
The final charges to which the four pleaded guilty today, entering
real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses. It was
O‘Keefe‘s sophomoric idea that because somebody in Louisiana Senator Mary
Landrieu‘s office said their phones were jammed during the health care
reform debate, that could only mean the phones were broken and thus he
would videotape the senator neglecting the will of the people by not
getting the jammed phones fixed or—or who knows.
As those who defended him kept saying, he‘s just a stupid kid.
Presumably, O‘Keefe does not realize he probably would have looked better
as a kind of junior Watergate figure than just a dimwitted child, but I
doubt he heard much other than the judge referring to him and his co-
defendants today in a perverse affirmation as, quote, “journalists.”
Let me quote from the corrupt politician talking to the character, the
title character in citizen cane. “If it was anybody else, I‘d say what‘s
going to happen to you would be a lesson to you, only you‘re going to need
more than one lesson and you‘re going to get more than one lesson.
OLBERMANN: Sister Sarah hops back up on the martyrdom stage. A
reporter moves in nearby and she tries to portray him as a pedophile spying
on her kids. That‘s next.
But first, get out your pitch forks and torches, time for tonight‘s
worst persons in the world. Bronze, shared by Congressman Kevin McCarthy
of California and Mike Pence of Indiana. McCarthy is hyping a series of
GOP town hall meetings complete with quote, “suggestion boxes.” Part of
this is making sure people realize one, we‘re listening, but also then
you‘ll find our actions from listening from what we gathered and what we‘ll
introduce. That was Congressman McCarthy.
His colleague, Congressman Pence will have none of that. This is not
a political party in search of a keel or in search of principles. It‘s not
a listening tour. House Republicans know what we believe. So much are
they the party of no, they even say no to themselves.
Our runner up, Governor Rick Perry of Texas. He was so de-“home on
the range”d about the stimulus plan last year that he rejected various
portions of the federal funds and implicitly endorsed all that moronic
secession talk, and flirted with doing so explicitly.
The “Wall Street Journal” writes today, “although Mr. Perry has railed
against the federal economic stimulus program, billions of dollars from
that initiative helped Texas legislators balance the current budget.”
There‘s letters, sealed and my two school fellows whom I will trust as
(inaudible) fanged, they bear the mandate they must sweep my way and
marshal me to knavery. Let it work. For tis the sport to have the
engineer hoisted with his own petard.
Hamlet and for my two school fellows read if Mr. Shakespeare will
permit me, that bozo governor, Mr. Perry. But our winner, Lonesome Rhodes
Beck. He‘s now completed the hat trick. He‘s now attacked every member of
the president‘s family.
“At some point there‘s a tipping point. At some point, you look at,
you know, you start with Jeremiah Wright. OK, here‘s one thing. Are you
telling me that for 20 years no one in that family, the kids didn‘t pick it
up? They didn‘t hear anything and repeat something outrageous? Michelle
Last week it was the first lady. “When our country is economically on
fire and I think we have Julius Caesar in the White House, did you see the
picture of his wife yesterday all dolled up? I don‘t think I‘ve ever seen
the first lady with, her excuse the expression, but with her breasts all
smooshed up, sort of. I mean, what is that?”
Yes, I know he means Nero. Oh, wait, there‘s more. Attacked the
president‘s parents in March. “What scar is left when a mom leaves a son
who‘s been abandoned by his father for Marxism?” Attacked his aunt last
year. “I took this cane from her earlier. It‘s a little like Tiny Tim.
She has a limp, didn‘t you know that?”
And attacked all of them today. “Did nobody hear? No one in the
family heard Jeremiah Wright? The kids never came home and said, hey, Jews
are destroying the world. Michelle never said, wait, what?”
This is the usual Beck holier than thou, God told me to be a jackass
stuff today. But there‘s a twist here. Glenn Beck today talking about the
blogger moving into the house next to Sarah Palin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, HOST “GLENN BECK”: This is harassment. This is stalking
and harassment. There‘s a different—leave my family, leave people‘s
families alone. I don‘t think I‘ve—I don‘t think I‘ve ever—I mean, I
made this when it was—when it was Bill Clinton, you don‘t go after
You don‘t talk about the Bush kids. Now, the minute they get into
politics, that‘s a different story. You leave the families alone. We‘ve
never done anything but protect the families and question why the White
House would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Leave the families alone. Once, just once, jackass, hold
yourself to one thousandth of the standards you piously try to impose on
others. You, Mr. Beck, are a stone cold liar and a hypocrite.
OLBERMANN: She‘s offered to welcome him with some homemade blueberry
pie, but that didn‘t stop the half term governor of Alaska from accusing a
reporter renting a house near the Palin compound in Wasilla of peering in
and overlooking the family swimming hole.
The family swimming hole in question would be a 350-acre lake with
public access. Number one story, Sister Sarah laments this apparent loss
of privacy in a public announcement on Facebook.
The former governor updating you, gentle reader, on both her lawn care
regiment, I finally got the chance to tackle my garden and lawn this
evening, so putting on the shorts and tank top to catch that too brief
northern summer sun and placing a giddy trig in his toddler backpack for
lawn mowing adventure, I looked up surprised to see a new neighbor over
looking my property just a stone‘s throw away.
The new neighbor, author and reporter, Joe McGinnis (ph), according to
Sister Sarah, Mr. McGinnis told Todd Palin, he‘s rented the house next door
for about five months to write a book. It‘s working title “Sarah Palin‘s
Year of Living Dangerously” to be published by Random House in print.
Broadway Books as an investigative narrative of Sarah Palin‘s significance
as both political and cultural phenomenon.
The publisher issuing the statement, Mr. McGinnis will be highly
respectable to subject‘s privacy as he investigates her public activities.
No matter, Palin posting a photo of the place McGinnis is renting with the
caption, hi, neighbor, may I call you Joe? If you forget his name too.
Here he is about 15 feet away on the neighbor‘s rented deck
overlooking my children‘s play area and my kitchen window. Knowing that
his many other scathing pieces of journalism, including the bizarre anti-
Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department
of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy
related yellow journalism it ever encountered.
We‘re sure to have a doozy to look forward to with this treasure he‘s
penning. Glenn Beck joining in the fight vowing to never mention Random
House books ever again, asking the publisher to rain in its authors. Mrs.
Palin calling into that radio program earlier to make him only the second
dumbest person on air to tell listeners that while she found Mr. McGinnis‘
move disturbing, don‘t worry, she‘ll be fine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN: Everybody has trials and tribulations. Everybody has a
battle that they are fighting, too, and we may want to tire, we may want to
give up, we may want to retreat. Instead, like my dad says, don‘t retreat,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Again, with the freaking gun reference. Joining me now is
the political reporter of the “Washington Post,” Dave Weigel.
Dave, good evening.
DAVID WEIGEL, WASHINGTON POST: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Mr. McGinnis has not commented on this, whether what he‘s
done is considered unusual or not, is there anything wrong or illegal about
WEIGEL: Well, there‘s not. I actually think Jack Schaeffer at slate
made a good argument today, there‘s a long journalistic tradition of being,
in a word he didn‘t use it, jerk. Of chasing somebody who‘s not going to
submit to an interview for you.
You know, Michael Moore does that. Bill O‘Reilly does this. Bill
O‘Reilly sends reporters to shadow people. To the extent to which McGinnis
is taking it, that‘s more than most reporters would do, but the way that
Palin first put this on Facebook, her readers who might not have read every
Joe McGinnis book interpret it as a crazy person who is writing mean blog
posts or mean, slanderous articles about her. Not as a journalist who was
very clear about who he was and what he was doing.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Beck called Mr. McGinnis a (inaudible), called him a
peeping tom and accused him of stalking. Obviously that‘s irresponsible,
but we‘re expecting that because that‘s the way he rolls. But she‘s
implying in that post that he‘s staring at her kids as though go to the
swimming hole, which is the length of 3 ½ football fields. Who is
turning this into a problem here?
WEIGEL: Right, that‘s where a lot of people take exception to this.
Because McGinnis, he said a little bit about what the book might be, if he
learns anything, the most I guess controversial thing, if he learns
anything about the state of their marriage, then he might write about that.
He‘s never mentioned the kids.
This is one of a few instances where Palin has taken a personal
attack, or not a personal attack, a political attack, a biographer‘s
attack, a journalist investigation, claiming it‘s an assault on her kids.
This happened with David Letterman.
David Letterman made the joke about Bristol Palin, who‘s a bit of a
public figure. She‘s a spokesperson for abstinence and Palin claimed,
despite what Letterman saying, he was making a joke about another kid,
everyone‘s after her kid.
And it reminds you of the kid that throws the water balloon and then
calls timeout. Once she starts attacking, if you try to attack back, she
throws out this defensive shield. In this case it involved I think being
incredibly unfair and a bit slanderous to someone.
OLBERMANN: To shift gears here, there‘s another result here on the
Palin score board, she supported the Idaho Republican and apparently great
admirer of then-Senator Obama in 2004, plagiarized his speech, Vaughn Ward
and his bid for Congress, he lost.
And a Tea Party candidate that she did not support, we could follow
all these. We need a diagram. Raul Labrador won. Did she just happen to
back the worst candidate in the world or is she losing influence in this
WEIGEL: Yes, she did, I think. I mean, this guy was not the choice
even of a lot of the local Tea Parties. The Tea Party Express endorsed the
incumbent Democrat. So this was a case of her going off half cocked, she
likes gun metaphors, I guess I‘ll say that.
I‘m just surprised that she keeps picking fights like this. This Joe
McGinnis fight, this candidate endorsement fight, when there‘s oil still
happening, you‘re reporting it. We‘re going to hear more about it later.
She has some expertise about this.
Instead, it‘s these little personal political battles and these little
personal insults that she chooses to use her global celebrity to turn into
news. And it‘s mystifying. I don‘t take any pleasure in these—what
ended up for me today, a 50 hate-mail blog post.
I‘m wondering why she chooses to get into personal fights and I think
it‘s because she is more of a celebrity for Tea Partiers, she‘s more of a
representative of motherhood and all that is good about America than a
Well, I—she should really learn to take it when journalists are
investigating her. Stop blocking interviews if she wants to have people,
you know, deal with her on a level.
OLBERMANN: You know, this is closer to Amy McPherson than some actual
WEIGEL: You said that, not me.
OLBERMANN: You only got 50 hate mail? Only 50? Come on.
WEIGEL: I‘m rounding down, but it was a lot. More than you get or
less than you get.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Let‘s play in the big leagues here. “Washington
Post” Dave Weigel. Great thanks, Dave.
WEIGEL: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: That‘s “Countdown” for this is the 36th day since the deep
water horizon oil disaster began. I‘m Keith Olbermann. Good night and
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